Hello ladies and gents, and welcome to this week’s grumble with IHM. This week, we’ve seen a little of this, a little of that… nothing all that impressive. You know, aside from the greatest week of football the NFL has to offer (the two day, four game bonanza known as the “Divisional Round”), the potential fall of a legend (Peyton Manning goes down to his successor Andrew Luck in said Divisional Round), the crowning of the first college football playoff champion (the Buckeyes somehow), and a bunch of other crazy crap. So, without any further ado… let’s get on to it!
As Moz has said many a time, the NFL’s divisional round is the greatest spectacle that the sport of football offers us. The best eight teams, all vying for a spot in their respective conference championship games, all hoping they will be the next team to get their hands on the Lombardi Trophy. This year’s crop of games did not disappoint… the Pats outlasted the Ravens in an instant classic, the Packers got some “controversial” help beating the Cowboys, the Colts surprised some and sent the Broncos home, and the Seahawks dominated the 7-8-1 Panthers.
And then there were four… the NFL’s final four features teams that don’t exactly shock anyone. The Patriots, Colts, Seahawks, and Packers are among the perennial favorites the league actually has. Each team was a virtual lock to win their division this year… with the exception possibly being the defending champion Seahawks who play in arguably the toughest division in the sport, the vaunted NFC West. Despite that, they edged out the 11-5 injury plagued Arizona Cardinals to win it in the final week of the season, and certainly benefitted from the surprising fall of the San Francisco 49ers.
As for this week’s games… the Packers make the trip to Seattle, where the Seahawks are nearly impossible to beat in the playoffs thanks to their “12th Man”… you know, that and their stifling defense and impressive ground game. With Aaron Rodgers less than 100%, it almost seems like a lock that the Seahawks will be afforded the opportunity to defend their title on February 1st at University of Phoenix Stadium in Harvey’s backyard!
As for the Patriots and Colts, if you look at what happened earlier this year when the Patriots dismantled the Colts nearly two months ago 42-20, it seems like Tom Brady will get another shot at shutting up Dick Sherman on the world’s biggest stage. Since then, the Colts are 7-1… the one loss being a 42-7 blowout at the hands of the Cowboys while they rested the majority of their skill players. The key here will be if the Pats have someone to lock down T.Y. Hilton, Andrew Luck’s go to guy. The Patriots are the clear favorites, but a key will be the ground game that has all but vanished since the week 11 drubbing of the Colts. This one has the makings of being an instant classic, especially if Tom Brady and Andrew Luck end up getting into an old fashioned shootout. My pick is the Patriots, but that pick is not made with a ton of conviction.
As for the college football playoff championship game, it might not have been pretty in the end, but we finally got what college football fans have been clamoring for for decades now… a playoff and a true champion crowned. No, TCU did not get a chance… and Baylor didn’t get in, but that was mainly their commissioner’s doing when he was too big of a pussy to name an outright conference champion! The funny thing is, the two teams everyone argues should be in would have supplanted the eventual champion, Ohio State. You can argue all day long that TCU might have beaten the Buckeyes, but then again, after witnessing the way that Buckeye defense was able to dominate both Alabama and Oregon, you’d probably be wrong! If the playoff proved anything it is this; Urban Meyer is the best coach in college football today… and when you give him that amount of time to game plan for a team, they are going to be tough to beat.
Now I am no longer a Buckeye fan. I was glad to see them win, sure, but after the Tressell debacle and the constant flow of garbage I heard out of that fan base defending that charlatan (and some STILL do to this day), I was out. I’m not jumping back on the bandwagon… merely observing what a guy like Urban Meyer brings to the table. But if there is a fan base I hate even more than that one, it would be Michigan’s! Well, obviously Penn State fans are the world’s #1 dirtbags… but that’s a different story for my next rant! I hope Michigan fan is paying close attention… especially now that the “savior” Jim Harbaugh is back in town. Is Harbaugh a good coach? Yes, he is. Is Harbaugh anywhere near the level of an Urban Meyer… or even Nick Saban? No chance in hell. He inherited a ready to go San Francisco team, which is the sole reason for his success in the NFL. San Diego State? They are a perennial contender in the MWC… they were before he came around, and they have been since he’s left. Stanford… his record there is less than impressive, 29-21, including going 1-1 in bowl games in his four years there. So be careful what you wish for Michigan fan… and just because you get it doesn’t mean you’ll be hanging any banners any time soon!
In other NCAA news, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota has declared himself for the 2015 NFL Draft, despite the flaws in his game that were exposed by the Ohio State defense in Monday night’s title game. Not sure about any of you, but in my opinion this guy has bust written all over him. Hell, I think I’d take a chance on Jameis before I went with Mariota. He’s a solid kid, great off field, but Winston is light years ahead of him as far as on field ability is concerned.
As was reported by AFD earlier this week, the NCAA is considering reinstating the 111 wins they initially stripped from Joe Paterno, an act that would once again make him the winningest coach in the history of college football. This of course comes a few months after they decided to shorten the bowl ban initially placed on the Pedo Cats, despite the fact that the university was proven to have covered up decades of child rape at the hands of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Of course, dirtbag Pedo Cat fan is thrilled by this idea. Once again, lawyers step in and ruin something… if there is one thing I hate nearly as much as Matt Millen and pedophiles, it is fucking lawyers. And how about that… all of them have a connection to Penn State University. So get ready sports fans… you could very well see the bloated, perma-looking the other way corpse of Joe Paterno surpass an actual good man in Greg Robinson once again on the NCAA’s all-time coaching wins list… and you could possibly finally see my fucking head explode with disgust!
The Pistons have improved to 8-2 over their last ten, with losses to the Hawks (who are currently on a ten game winning streak) and Pelicans the only two blemishes on their suddenly solid record in the past two weeks, and are now just 2.5 games out of the 8 seed in the East. A major highlight included an impressive 114-111 win over the Raptors in Toronto in which Brandon Jennings had 34 points and 10 assists going up against arguably the best PG in the East in Kyle Lowry. If they can keep this up, the schedule favors them through February… and we could have a .500 or better basketball team here in Detroit!
Danny Ainge has been all over the map this year, making trades and picking up draft picks on what seems like a weekly basis so far this year. There are so many players coming and going in Boston, it’s starting to look like Kim Kardashian’s bedroom up there!
But all joking aside… the tanking in the NBA this year is just out of control! The Knicks, Lakers, Celtics, 76ers, and Timberwolves… all God awful and looking to get worse with every transaction! Wonder if Adam Silver is going to step in and do anything anytime soon…
Calgary Flames rookie LW Johnny Gaudreau is reportedly seeking to secure the trademark “Johnny Hockey” in both the US and Canada. Evidently Johnny wants to become the new most hated man in hockey. Now admittedly I don’t know much about the guy. He’s got a solid 32 points in 42 games so far this year, and he is a former Hobey Baker Award winner at Boston College… but come on man… you’re better than that! Leave the goofy fucking nicknames to former Heisman winning washouts!
That’s all I’ve got for this week folks. Thanks for reading and for any comments you leave on the way out, and have a great weekend Gabbers!
My Top 25
1 Ohio St. 3
2 Florida St. 1
3 Oregon 4
4 Alabama 2
5 Boise St. 6
6 TCU 5
7 UCLA 11
8 Mich. St. 13
9 Marshall 12
10 Ga. Tech 14
11 Missouri 16
12 Baylor 7
13 Georgia 17
14 Wisconsin 15
15 Ole Miss 8
16 Miss. St. 9
17 Arizona 10
18 Clemson 21
19 Arizona St. 23
20 USC –
21 Auburn 18
22 Colo. St. 20
23 Kansas St. 19
24 N. Illinois 24
25 Memphis –
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (22) Nebraska, (25) Louisville
Earlier top-25 blogs:
I guess I’ll start with some good news. I like how the top four stayed in place. If after theAlabama game anyone still believed Ohio St. didn’t belong in the top four, I’m sure they do now. Other than that, pretty much everyone agreed with the other three teams.
Why does the fact that teams won these games mean that suddenly some of them aren’t in the top four? It doesn’t. If we made 5-8 play each other and then the winners of those games play each other, that would leave three teams in that group with one more loss than they had before the bowls as well.
I am also pleased with my rankings before the bowls. Eleven of my top 17 (including Oregon) won their bowl games. All of the top 19 either won their bowl game or lost to another top-19 team. Colorado St. andNebraska were the only top-25 teams to lose bowl games to other teams.
Obviously, some people will criticize whereTCU is, but only one team they played all year won a bowl game, and the Horned Frogs don’t get a lot of points fromOklahoma St.’s win over Washington. The margin of victory over Ole Miss doesn’t help in my ratings, but like most fans, I would have liked to have seen TCU play one of the top four. (I still don’t want another round of playoffs though, at least not without a major overhaul.)
I know Boise St. lost to Ole Miss, but losing to Baylor doesn’t hurt that much less. Boise St. also played an extra game. The Broncos were one of four 10-win teams in the Mountain West (all in the same division), while only two teams in the Big XII won 10 or more.
This might be boring, but it might also be a way of explaining my rankings, so bear with me. On 11/23, TCU led Boise St. by about 0.12 (which was the approximate distance from Ohio St. to Oregon before the bowls). Boise St. won three games between 11/23 and the bowls (Wyoming, Utah St., andFresno St.) while TCU only won two (Texas and Iowa St.). This cut TCU’s lead to 0.006.
All things being equal, the TCU lead should have increased to 0.017 because Ole Miss counts for more points than Arizona does. So the 1-6 performance in bowl games by TCU opponents cost the Horned Frogs 0.021 by comparison since they ended up 0.004 behind the Broncos. Only three of Boise St.’s, but of the 13 games they played, 10 were against teams that went to bowl games (they played Fresno St. twice, Ole Miss, Colorado St., ULL, Air Force, Nevada, BYU, San Diego St., and Utah St.).
For a non-mathematical argument, a lot of people thought I had Boise St. way too high and they shouldn’t have been ahead of Arizona. I think they corrected that perception.
This is the fifth time since 2008 (when I started my current system) that Boise St. has finished in the top 6. By comparison, this is only Alabama’s fourth time in that time frame. Florida, Ohio St., and Oregon have finished in that group three times apiece. Not apropos of anything, but every time Ohio St. has been in that group, so has Oregon.
I would have liked to have seen Marshall play a P5 team, but they did about as well against then-11-2 Northern Illinois asArkansas had back in September.
I do think Georgia Tech would have likely beaten them, but remember the point of my formula is so that teams with few losses end up near the top. Georgia Tech obviously had a much better schedule, but you have to have a much better schedule to account for two extra losses.
I’m sure most of you remember when LSUhad two losses and made the BCS Championship ahead of one-loss Kansas. That was a huge difference in schedule, but if LSU had three losses or Kansas had no losses, LSU would not have gone ahead of Kansas. I first started working on my current formula after the 2007 season, so that’s probably something I considered when I decided how much winning percentage counts and how much strength of schedule counts. I also think LSU would have beaten Kansas even if the Jayhawks had gone undefeated in 2007, but that doesn’t mean LSU would have deserved to play in the game ahead of them.
Anyway, Marshall is in the CUSA, which went 4-1 in the bowls. Compare that to the 4-7 mark of the ACC. Also, bad losses hurt more in my formula than good wins help. The one team that beat Marshall (Western Kentucky) won its bowl game, but all three teams that beat Georgia Tech lost theirs.
The top two teams of the SEC East (Missouri and Georgia) got into the top 15, finally passing up Ole Miss and Mississippi St., but they had too far to go to make it into the top 10. I think 19 of the top 21 being in P5 conferences is about right. I don’t mind giving some credit to the better teams of the other conferences at the bottom of the top 25.
USC made a pretty decent jump forward after they beat Nebraska and several teams in the group immediately ahead of them lost.
This is the completion of my 20th year ranking teams (although it was purely subjective before 2004), and this is the very first time I am ranking Memphis.Memphis is the 101st team I have ranked.
Note on conferences
This is slightly different analysis from my “conference report” series. In this blog, I’m commenting upon the rankings of the various teams rather than strictly looking at games between conferences. I do a summary of this with every ranking (except for the one after the Army-Navy game). You can see my chart here.
The SEC finishes with only one team in the top 10, but six in the top 25, nine in the top 40, and twelve in the top 50 (the chart linked to above does not give any credit for the top 50, just the top 40). Even #13 Kentucky finished 68th, just four spots behind Virginia Tech (who, as I think most people know, beat Ohio St.). Although like most of the country, I was a little surprised by WHICH SEC teams won, I think the above shows how tough it was to go undefeated if 13/14 teams in the conference were good enough to beat who turned out to be the best team in the country.
The SEC has 14 teams, and only 8 of them got to play Vanderbilt. The SEC might not have the best top teams (as was thought for much of the season), but if you think any other conference schedule was tougher, you’re kidding yourself.
Kenneth Massey lists about 90 top-to-bottom computer rankings of teams on his comparison site. Every one of them has the SEC as the top conference (at least based on average ranking of the teams). I know people want to call me a homer, but until I’m not part of the overwhelming consensus (even if one or two come out that disagree, that’s still true), I won’t take that allegation seriously.
The only rankings he lists on there that put the SEC second are the two (subjective) polls, but only the top 25 of each one is considered. Since the SEC has six teams between #26 and #50 in my ratings compared to only two in that range for the Pac-12, that’s ignoring a lot of the SEC’s relative strength toward the middle and below the middle of the conference.
Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Okay, I have had enough of winter. Where is that darn groundhog? Well, the college football playoffs are over and Ohio State is the winner. If you saw this coming, you are either clairvoyant or lying through your teeth. The Big 10 was a league that has struggled for several years with credibility. It was thought that a team from this conference was just not capable of playing with the big boys. We should have seen the signs. The rout of Wisconsin in the championship game was a huge clue that I know that I missed. It was a game that was written off as an anomaly or simply a matter of Wisconsin not showing up to play. But, I think that there is more at work here. With the loss of QB Barrett at the end of the Michigan game, most of college football wrote off the Buckeye’s season. But, a funny thing happened…they flourished. I heard a commentary about the Ohio State season that made a ton of sense to me. When Barrett went down, the Buckeye coaches leaned on the running game and nobody could stop them. This was obvious against Wisconsin, but most of us simply overlooked the obvious.
My main complaint about college football in years past is that I was never convinced that the team anointed “champion” was the best team. Carl Spackler and I always have this conversation about good teams getting better. For me, this is a beautiful thing about team sports. The best team does not always have the best talent, but is the group of players that discovers the best way to play as a team. After watching Ohio State win the first playoff in college football, I am convinced that the best team won. Seriously, is there any question that OSU is the best team in the country? They beat the #1 team In Alabama and put a beat down on Oregon. When you consider that the Buckeyes had four turnovers, the game was really not as close as the score might suggest…so I think that beat down is appropriate. While the talking heads will talk about the performance by Zeke Elliot and the consistency of Cardale Jones, I will remember the defensive stands by the Buckeye defense as the turning point of this game. Congratulations to the Buckeyes for a great win!
I have never been a fan of Ohio State football. The reason was pretty simple…many years ago; I played in a fantasy football league with a guy that was a huge Ohio State fan. To say that he was obnoxious would be an understatement. The second Ohio State fan that I met was over the phone. My daughter was involved in a small fender bender with his wife. I spend hours on the phone each day and I am normally pretty good at working through problems. This guy was a prick…plain and simple. He made a huge deal about the accident and when he began to degrade my daughter, the conversation was over. I went by to look at the damage to his car and the first thing I saw was an Ohio State bumper sticker. It turns out that insurance took care of the damage to his precious vehicle…$63 for a scratch to his license plate cover…I am not kidding. So, whenever I watched a game involving the Buckeyes, you know I was pulling against them. That is until recently. I have another friend that I have discovered was a Buckeye fan. Suddenly, the Buckeyes were not a team that I detested…it was as simple as knowing a friend had a rooting interest. One of the things that I found very comforting in going through my dad’s ordeal was seeing what great friends he had. I have begun to realize that as much as I enjoy sports, there are more important things in life for me. That does not mean that I enjoy sports any less, only that I do not carry the results with me as I might have in the past. I also realize that friendships are more important that any football game.
This past weekend was a tough game for my Cowboys. As I sat watching Dallas play Green Bay at Lambeau field, I could not help but think back to the last time I watched these two teams play in Green Bay. It was the Ice Bowl played in 1967. I was 9 years old and I watched the game with my dad and brother. If you have seen the game, it was crazy cold and was what football in the 60s was…a test of the fittest. As I kid, I did not realize that Dallas had the better team…I only knew that I wanted my Cowboys to finally win a championship. I remember watching Bob Lilly try to scratch traction on the icy field attempting to thwart a last minute score by the Packers. When Starr plunged over the goal line, my heart sank. As the seconds ticked down on that Cowboy loss, I found myself crying with frustration. Angry days followed that loss and I had a difficult time understanding why my team had to lose. As much as a 9 year old could feel hurt, I did. But time passed and I later was able to appreciate what was so special about that game. Losing was bad, but playing the Green Bay Packers in such a memorable game was special, as was the memory shared with my father and brother.
Last Sunday, I watched the game unfold and really liked what I saw. Dallas controlled the ball and had Rodgers chilling on the sideline…until that damn fumble by Murray. I can’t blame Murray as much as acknowledge the great strip by Julius Peppers. It was pretty frustrating to watch the replay and see the huge hole that Murray was almost able to exploit. I will remember this play as I suspect that this game would have ended much differently had Dallas scored that TD. For many other fans, it is the great catch by Dez Bryant that almost was that will what they take from this game. I knew when I saw the ball move when Bryant hit the ground that the play would not stand. I don’t like the NFL rule, but know what it is from having seen others robbed of catches. I also knew that many would have fun with pointing to the irony of how Dallas lost. For me, it is a game that Dallas should have won. The Cowboys had their chances to win last Sunday, but they simply did not make the plays needed to win. Green Bay was very beatable to my eyes. With Rodgers less than 100%, it was a golden opportunity for the Cowboys to finally make it back to the Super Bowl. Oh well…maybe next year. There is one thing that I will take away from this game. It is finding out who your friends are. One of the things that I have enjoyed about the Gab is the chance to learn about other parts of the country. Even though my teams have not recently won a championship, I have been able to enjoy the success of the teams of my friends. Heck...I even will sometimes pull for the 49ers now, because BOB is a fan. I completely get celebrating a big win for your team, but I am puzzled at the pleasure that some take over another team losing. For me, life is too damn short to find joy in the misfortune of others…I guess it was just how I was raised.
Here is a pretty entertaining read by Andrew Sharp:
Andrew makes some good points and I really enjoy how he finishes his article:
“Beyond that, the best way to get over the Dez debacle is to just stop pretending this league will ever make sense.
Maybe all sports are better off as a sideshow that we don’t take seriously, but the new NFL is definitely better off as the sideshow nobody takes seriously. This is comedy, not drama.
Now I’m free — not invested, don’t have to pretend to care about any of this anymore. The Cowboys lost in the worst way possible, and now I’m free to enjoy the NFL in the best way possible.”
People will be arguing about this call forever more. But after watching what happened to Detroit, it is impossible for me not recognize the irony. So much for Jerry buying the refs…
By the letter of the rules, it was the right call...should these be the rules for a catch?
In checking out the HOF vote last week, I ran across a story about Carlos Delgado. Because Delgado received less than 5% of the vote, he has been removed from future HOF ballots. In looking at the numbers I could not understand how Delgado received so few votes. Lifetime average of.280, 473 HRs, 483 doubles, 1512 RBIs and 1241 Runs scored. He “only” had 2038 hits, but from 1997 to 2008 Delgado basically hit 30 plus HRs and almost 100 RBIs each year. When I see that Tony Perez is in the HOF with a .279 average and 379 HRs…it sort of makes me wonder. And…for you sabre metric guys out there…I do not think that Adam Dunn deserves a spot in the HOF. I am sorry, but batting average still matters to me. I know that Dunn hit a lot of HRs, but a .237 batting average does not belong in the HOF. Dunn was very good at what he did, but as a DH…you have to do more than just hit HRs. That is my two cents anyway. But, I digress…it turns out that the reason that so many left Delgado off their ballot is due to the stupid rule regarding limiting voters to 10 players. I will say again…it is time to take a close look at the rules regarding the selection process and do the right thing. Let’s keep the pressure on these clowns…
Here is one writer that at least admitted to voting...
NASCAR is normally not in my arena, but I realized that I had forgotten to touch on a story that I found fascinating. You probably have heard that Kurt Busch was charged by his ex (Patricia Driscoll) with slamming her head into a wall. During a court appearance concerning a restraining order against Busch...he indicated that his ex-girlfriend is a hired assassin that does work for the government. Busch talked about the time that the couple were in El Paso and Driscoll left in camo only to return wearing a trench coat covering a blood stained evening dress. Although I am sure that Qwazier will touch on this story...it was something that I had to at least to mention. So, if you found out that your girlfriend killed people for money is this a deal killer or does it add intrique to the relationship. I don't know about you, but it sure would limit the arguments. Nothing stops a heated discussion like her saying, it is okay honey...just go to sleep. Uh...no thanks. I think I will read for awhile. This is so crazy that it can't help but have some truth to it. From looking at her job resume...Driscoll does have the history to make this possible. Take a look:
Driscoll, 37, lives in Ellicott City, Md. She heads two organizations, both of them based in Washington, D.C. One is the Armed Forces Foundation, a veterans advocacy group that partners with NASCAR. The other is Frontline Defense Systems, whose website says Driscoll "spent the majority of her career in the narcotics and intelligence world." Hmmm...
Of course...as Busch's nickname is the "Outlaw"...I suppose a hired assassin for a girl friend is only natural.
This brings to mind one of my favorite movies: Red and Red 2. LOVE these movies and especially enjoyed the character played by Helen Mirren. If you have not seen it..do so and be prepared to laugh...a lot.
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
You know what would make a good story? Something about a clown who makes people happy, but inside he's real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea.
If you're a circus clown, and you have a dog that you use in your act, I don't think it's a good idea to also dress the dog up like a clown, because people see that and they think, "Forgive me, but that's just too much."
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…
The links, formatting, and picture wouldn't post since I'm on my iPad (regular internet is out). Here is the address of the version on my site:
The Pac-12 edged the SEC for #1. I cover the remaining conferences below.
Part I: Frame of Reference
Part II: King of the Bowls
3. Big Ten
The B1G finishes with one more win than the ACC, which had qualified one more team, so even if you prefer looking at percentages, they would come out on top.
Ohio St. was of course matched with another conference’s #1. Michigan St. still gets credit for beating Baylor even though the way they did it was kind of ridiculous. That was another evenly-matched game. I think TCU should have been regarded as the tougher team to beat out of the Big XII. Wisconsin barely held on in overtime in what should have been a win anyway over Auburn, the SEC #6.
The next couple of teams, the ones who unsuccessfully competed for the Big Ten West, lost. Minnesota lost to Missouri, but if anything Missouri was a spot higher in the SEC. (I don’t think Missouri should have been considered the SEC #2 though since the best SEC team they beat during the regular season was Florida.) Nebraska played respectably despite getting rid of Pelini but fell short to USC, another fair match-up.
Maryland was a little higher in the Big Ten than Stanford was in the Pac-12, but Stanford basically had a home game, so they should have been expected to win, which they did easily.
That still gives the top six of the Big Ten a 3-3 record. That’s one game better than the top six of the SEC, but the other teams went 2-2 rather than the SEC’s 5-1 in other games. Had they gone 4-0 to give the Big Ten a total of record of 7-3, the Big Ten could have had an argument for #2.
I mentioned in the previous blog that if the conferences were equal, Iowa (the #7) should have been better than Tennessee, but they weren’t. On the other hand, North Carolina probably should have beaten Rutgers and Boston College probably should have beaten Penn St., so these results help me determine SEC, Big Ten, ACC in that order.
Northwestern might have been a better bowl team than Illinois judging by the good teams they beat (Notre Dame and Wisconsin), but like Maryland, Illinois didn’t get a geographically beneficial game, so I don’t treat them too harshly for losing to Louisiana Tech.
Since it didn’t make the cut for #3, the ACC was the obvious #4. It got four wins, twice as many as the Big XII. They also qualified four more teams. I covered most of the games already. I didn’t mention Pitt losing to Houston in the most ridiculous conclusion this year. I don’t think it was bad enough to drop the ACC lower than #4.
5. Conference USA
6. Big XII
Conference USA went 4-1. The Big XII should have won both of the games they won anyway. #1 vs. #4, and #7 vs. #8.
I mentioned Louisiana Tech beating Illinois, the only P5 opponent. Marshall beat Northern Illinois. Northern Illinois is not a P5 opponent, but I think they’re a serious enough program to be considered in the same category as a low-level P5 bowl team. The only loss was by UTEP to Utah St., which beat BYU and Air Force during the season, so they’re no joke either.
The Western Kentucky and Rice wins weren’t impressive, but it was too hard for me to put a 2-win conference ahead of a 4-win one. Obviously the Big XII will still be much better overall.
TCU did a good job, I have no problem with them being in the top 5. Whatever happens with my objective system, that’s how I would have voted them, but their conference just didn’t impress me enough to be #5 in the bowls.
7. Mountain West (MWC)
The MWC went 3-4, but also in that conference, there was a steep drop from #1 to everyone else, so that’s why I kept them behind the Big XII. I mentioned the Utah St. win. Air Force also beat Western Michigan. It would have been embarrassing to lose either of those games. Colorado St. and Nevada barely showed up (losing a combined 61-13), and San Diego St. basically lost a home game against Navy (although I do realized there are plenty of Navy people in the area).
The independents went 2-1. They qualified three of the four teams in that category, the only loss was to a conference co-champion. There were wins over SEC #7 and MWC #6.
9. American (AAC)
The AAC went only 2-3 even with Houston’s miraculous win. The losses to N.C. State and Cincinnati showed pretty clearly that they don’t belong in consideration for a power conference. Even Memphis, the only of the three co-champions to win, needed two overtimes to beat BYU. BYU, who at one time was predicted to go undefeated, had continually gotten worse as the year went on. East Carolina was respectable in a loss, but that’s not much to go on.
10. Mid-American (MAC)
The MAC went 2-3, but Bowling Green (who beat South Alabama) beat one of the worst bowl teams in history, and Arkansas St. (who lost to Toledo) wasn’t much better. The MAC #1 got blown out, Western Michigan lost by a couple of touchdowns to Air Force, and Central Michigan lost to Western Kentucky.
11. Sun Belt (SBC)
Last is the SBC. I mentioned it got two awful teams into bowl games. It’s a shame Georgia Southern and Appalachian St. couldn’t get those spots or maybe the SBC could have gotten a spot or two higher. The only other team the SBC got into a bowl is ULL, but they only had to travel a couple of hours (by car) in what has become an annual New Orleans Bowl tradition to play Nevada, who came from half a continent away and was #7 in their conference.